Steane Klose | Mar 19, 2008

Ateco, the exclusive importer of Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Citroen and Fiat products for Australia and New Zealand has extended its interests to cars from China.

The company’s Managing Director, Neville Crichton, announced yesterday that a distributorship agreement for Australia and New Zealand had been signed with Chery Automobile Company.

Ateco first approached Chery almost three years ago, leading to Neville Crichton signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in China with the company in November 2005, with the distributorship agreement eventually being executed earlier this month.

“We believe that China represents the future as a source of automotive products which makes this association with Chery a very exciting development for Ateco,” Mr Crichton said.

Ateco initially expects to launch three Chery models early in 2009 – a light and a small passenger car plus a small SUV. Chery has four new models to unveil later this year and plans to release 38 new models over the next five years.

Chery’s growth has been astounding with its first car being built in December 1999 and its one millionth in August 2007 – less than eight years later. Last year Chery sold 261,000 vehicles domestically and exported a further 120,000, in addition to which it currently has in place an agreement to export 100,000 engine sets a year to Fiat.

Chery, which is owned by the Anhui Provincial Government, is the largest independent vehicle manufacturer in China and currently has production capacity for 650,000 units a year. It is planned that this will rise to a million units over the next couple of years.

Chery’s factories, cover two million square meters, are ultra modern and include extensive production equipment from overseas, usually Europe. Chery currently employ 25,000 people including 2,000 in R&D.

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